On the second Friday of every month, the Radical Readers of Lambeth get together at Brixton Library to discuss topical texts. Last week was the biggest meeting the group has had yet, where the Radical Readers took on The Establishment: And how they got away with it, Owen Jones’ analysis of power and profits of Westminster lobbies, newsrooms, boardrooms and trading rooms of Fleet Street and the City, and how to challenge it.
Liam Cooper, a regular reader, says “the Radical Readers group grew out of some informal conversations amongst local trade unionists and anti-cuts activists in the spring of 2014. Many of us at the time were active in a variety of struggles locally, such as the Ritzy workers industrial campaign for a living wage, the indefinite strike action taken by Lambeth College workers over detrimental changes in working conditions, and the ongoing struggle to save Lambeth’s social housing stock from sale and demolition.”
With the help of Ruth Cashman of Brixton Library, the group was set up in April 2014 with a discussion of John F. Weeks’ Economics of the 1%:How Mainstream Economics Serves the Rich, Obscures Reality and Distorts Policy.
Since then, the group has discussed a variety of writing. Last July, to mark London Pride, the group covered a series of articles on LGBTQ politics. In the lead up to the recent Greek elections last month, an article on the growth of Syriza was the subject of analysis. Liam mentions that ‘we come from a range of political traditions, everyone involved has always wanted the Radical Readers group to be as politically broad as possible and the variety of texts discussed is testament to this.’
What to read next is decided at the end of each meeting, where somebody volunteers to review and introduce it to the rest of the group. Whether contemporary or classic, fiction or non-fiction, articles, books, or magazines, the conversation is diverse and engaging, and welcome to anyone interested in radical politics, ideas, and debates.
The next book is going to be George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, his account of experiences and observations of the Spanish Civil War. Join the Facebook group for more information, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy, and come along to Brixton Library, Friday 13th March, 7pm. Refreshments and refreshing perspectives provided.
By Gargie Ahmad